Sunday, May 28, 2006

Random acts of inspiration

Good afternoon boys and girls! (Good afternoon Ms. Tonya!) Today we have no particular topic and will be blogging about everything and nothing.

This Thursday the family went to cheer Christine on at her Honors award ceremony. It was a good night and she was the best dressed one there. (Hurray for my teen!) She's the blonde in all reds, second to last in line.

Quisha also got all A's and B +'s in school this year, so that makes 3 very smart and beautifull children. Huzzah! Huzzah Huzzah! (oh, where's a tissue?)

The kids, my husband and sister in law are gone since Friday afternoon to the "folks" house. John and Denise won't be back till tomorrow aft. In that time I have done more spinning, dying, and even knitting than my wrists can put up with. (Right, so here I am typing. I know!)

I have 3 new balls of yarn, the beginning of a silk yarn, and have done 2 dying experiments. I'm trying to get gold and brown but I may have to go buy them. I have bright yellow dye that I toned down a bit with some mushroom colored dye. What I got was a less bright yellow with a tinge of green or something.
This is so cool, but it just makes off black. Can you see the red, yellow, blue, and green? Wow, if only the yarn had turned all!

I've also been working on figuring out lace. How to work it, how to make my own designs. I have a shawl for someone's B-day in mind. Not too simple, not too complex, and a nice neutral color . It shouldn't take too long and I hope they like it. The rest of you all will have to wait for X-mas. Too many summer B days in my family to knit for them. (Eugene, I need your favorite colors and an address I can mail stuff to.)

I'm still working on my on-line store. I need to photo my stuff and create paypal buttons for them. I've got the site up and sectioned out. (Remind me I have to link the pages together.) I just need to get on the ball. Since I will be off work from Thursday next week, till Tuesday the following week, I can work on that then.

Ok misc stuff by line:

I found that running elastic in your sock cuff makes them tighter.
I found that I can do kitchener stitch but not in stockinette.
I remembered how to make a bouncy yarn.
I wore my knitted hat all last week 'cause I got scalped. (Less that 2 inches of hair left)
I've been spinning on my drop spindle at work and got a lot done.
My husbands' sweater sleeve is making progress.
My dog is driving me nuts!
I miss my family, both my east coast ones and my mid west ones.

Ok, so, "Don't do anything I wouldn't do!"

Monday, May 22, 2006

Spinning tales and show notes

Since I have dedicated so much time to knitting, and the cold weather is passing, I will start to focus more on spinning. Spring time for me means the transition from cold weather activities like knitting to warmer activities like processing fleece and spinning. I noticed I have been spinning more over the last couple of weeks if not months. Having sent off last years clip seconds as well as my unwashed wool I am left with roving to spin and an almost uncontrollable desire to have my hands in dirty fleece. I still have 05 Escamillo alpaca blanket left, My perfect white Icelandic fleece from Tongue river farm, the Shetland Lincoln fleece (black) the less than 1 lb of border leister lambs wool, and little bits of other stuff, like grey angora bunny, oatmeal Icelandic, Escamillo's half brother Figaro,(who is a blonde) Stuff like that. These are fibers I've washed and processed myself, or are still in their raw stage. Unfortunately there is nothing like the heady smell of a good fleece. I don't know why but it's a good smell to me.(I'm not talking about a ram fleece after he's been in season, and not the kinda fleece that's old and dusty.) a with in 3 month clip on a 70-75 degree spring day with low humidity. (Unless it's alpaca. I haven't run into a foul smelling fleece yet.)

My alpaca boy Escamillo! Here is a LINK to his boarding farm as well as one to his birth place. He is the alpaca on the bottom right. I have spun lots of wool breeds, hyucaya alpaca, llama, 2 types of silk, bunny, mohair, cotton and even a dog. (And yes those are listed in order of most like to least like.) Every year I take my best yarns and sell them at the guild show. I'm currently working on opening my own online shop. I'm down to photos and buy now buttons. I fist learned to spin on a drop spindle and then on a wheel. I still do both. I prefer my own hand made one to the ones I've bought but mostly cause of the weight. I spin on a bottom whorl and am awed at the beauty of the top whorls and frustrated at my inability to get the hang of them. The spinning on the thigh thing just gets me. But I still want one and that leads me to our next subject

Sheep shows! I've only been to two: One in Philipsburg K.S., the other in Nevada M.O. The one in Kansas is hosted by shepherd'slled shephards mill The MO show is put on by the colored wool growers assoc. Both are fun, both last 2 days. There were sheep and camalids at the KS show and sheep and goats and bunnies at the MO show. (Which was larger incidentally so there was more of everything.) The MO show Is where I won my first ribbon for spinning.. It was a blue one! (Can you tell I'm proud?) Now I will tell you what I like in a show...Variety! Different classes, vendors, products, you name it! People who keep an open mind, hotels not too far and at least some food on the premises. I like a show big enough to keep me there from 8-8, and takes about 8 hours to see everything. That way the other 16 hours I can take classes, watch shows and demos, get into contests, explore in depth. Even have time to spin a while and eat. The IA show looks like it will more than fit the bill. Since I'm not taking any classes, I should have all the time I need to meet new people, and pick out the best fleeces and equipment. I should come home with:

1)A wool breed I have not spun,
2)A fleece off to a new mill
3)Kid mohair roving or fleece
4)Several dyed rovings(wool or silk)
5)Medium grade wool carders (maybe)
6)Spindles (top or bottom)
7)Business cards
8)Lots of photos
9)A finished knitted sock
10) Less trunk space and less money!
OOOHHH I can not WAIT!

I'm gonna have to ask the ladies from the Fremont guild.
Gotta go..

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Book Review for Me and Ewe

My daughter Heather just got her basic skills test results...Drum roll please......She scored an 83% ! Wow, I have such smart kids, the oldest teen, Christine is on the honor role and is having a school dinner Thursday. We went clothes shopping last week and bought her a nice skirt and top in reds. There will be more photos.

I just bought this book, it's called America Knits by Melanie Falick. The photo's are wonderfully full of color. Many of the yarns are handspun, and there are lots of the artists who are spinning in their photos. Those who aren't spinning are dying their own yarn. The book is broken up into directions of East, west, Midwest, and southwest. The patterns cover sweaters shawls, mittens and socks. It made me want to spin and dye right away. I curled up in Barnes & Noble on a bench and lost myself in the book. There were even photo's of sheep!

Now looking at the copyright date, it looks as if I'm a bit late. The date is 1996. Wow! Well who knew? Speaking of spinning.. I promised photos. This is the Shetland Lincoln cross fleece from Nevada(ne-VA- da) M.O. The grey is the Lincoln and the black is the shetland, go figure how the breeds can be seperate in one sheep and by color. (That one with the tag won the state fair last year.)

My ice cream yarns. The one on the left is brown and white caramel swirl the one on the right is green and brown mint chocolate chip.
This is my rather pathetic amount of handspun for this year, including the Ice cream yarns but not the ones in the basket. I need to get cracking. I hoped to have 24 balls of yarn, 1 oz or more for sale by Novembers guild sale. If I count the black and grey, I will be fine, but I'm not going to. I need more alpaca silk and angora spun up. I have enough wool I think. Some alpaca wool blends, some angora wool blends, some silk alpaca blends, and some straight alpaca and silk would round out the collection.
Anyway I'm gonna get back to that book/wool/movie/meal/ ...whatever I was doing.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Darn it..and I'm not talking socks! Work is slowly crushing the life out of me. Much like the monotony of my husbands sweater and the fickle weather and..and ... Everything else! I can't find a bush type to plant in the top tier, I finished the body of the sweater and even seamed the sides but now have the sleeves to go and it's wed, which means I'm 2 days behind on that. One of my modes of communication has been lost, and now I can't talk to a friend of mine at work. This is important, this friend keeps me from strangling people I work with! The weather is warm then cold then windy then still. Some insect is eating my roses to death, they haven't even been able to grow much less bloom. My kids...are great and leaving SOON! (not soon enough) My kitchen is dirty, my fridge is empty, and so is my bank account. To top this all off, my excema is flaring up and I'm scratching like a hound...I need a break. Lets look at something
These are my Iris' just outside my computer room window. The grid like appearance is because I shot the photo through, you guessed it, the screen. You know, I will say that when we first moved here, they were all dark purple, but now? Yeah that's yellow and that's peach. All the growth around it are from the orange lilies that will be flowering in the late summer/fall. I have a batch of spiderwort that grows under the other window but they were open last week. Ok, I feel better now. I'm going off to spin some wool. I will have to remember to put up a pic of the ice cream inspired yarns I've been making. One is called caramel swirl, and the other is mint chocolate chip.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Iowa Sheep and Wool Show

Ok, On June 10-11 there is a sheep and wool festival in Adel Iowa. It runs from 8am - 8pm Saturday to Sunday. They hold classes in Knitting, weaving, spinning, felting, sheep, sheepdogs, Sheep shows and contests as well as a sheep to shawl contest. To find out more go...
Here. I hope to see plenty of people there and meet some new friends. I'll be the black one....LOL! You might want to check out the earlier post, I linked to two of our local yarn stores (lys). They're both pretty cool!

Monday, May 08, 2006

How did that get in there?

ok, so yest, I visited Lou Ann Thompson, owner of Thomsons Corner in Henderson Iowa. She raises Jacob Sheep. She also weaves, spins, felts and processes fibers. She is so cool. But the greatest thing was that she owns a Great Pyranese named Gracey. WOW she is only 18 mos old and is up to my 7 year olds chin! Lou Ann says she still got some growing to do. WOW! No, no pics, but maybe a Yeah, think ST Benard but white, and maybe bigger.
And when I got home I noticed something strange in my trunk, a whole 2 lbs of Jacob wool in black white and grey. ?? I don't know, the dog must of snuck it in the trunk, cause I swear I didn't have the money for that. Today to get some relief from this stubborn crick in my neck, I went to Mangelsons. (After I slept in 'till 9 am in fits and starts, after my first attempt to go resulted in a flat tire and an emergency trip to Walmart. Thank you guys from the grain analysis building. After it took 2 .5 hours for Walmart to fix the darn thing...) I so needed the break, nothing else was working. I stopped in ran into Mary who works there, and left. At least that's what I thought had happened until I looked down and noticed a bag with a ball of yarn in it. IN MY HAND! Now let me tell you what was SO wrong with this situation. I KNOW I didn't have the money for yarn, nor did I need more. so I looked at it. It was sock yarn, sunshine yellow, royal purple and orange. It was a 3 oz ball and it was $14.00! Yellow is my least favorite color only succeeded by orange. The purple was ok, but for $14.00? When one 1.5 ball only cost 6.00 why would twice the amount be more than twice the cost? And why would I pay for it?

After some careful thought and recollection, the trip actually went like this..check all the shelves, hang out in the cotton section, decide I'm looking for sock yarn, Decide That I want a solid color, notice the brand I usually buy is not IN the cotton section. Wander the rest of the isles, find my brand (Regia) and start looking at the colors. Picked It up, put it down, (repeat several times, include a stretch test and some walking a round.) Called LYS 1 they didn't have the color, called LYS 2 don't carry sock yarn, all LYS 3 don't have the color. So now I am holding the last ball of this stuff in town. (Regia cotton surf color BonBon) Talked to Mary, she says what's on the shelf is what we have. Great, now I can't leave it here. So I buy it, and know my toe up socks will be made of this and started on the trip to Iowa sheep and wool festival, June 10/11.

Oh, did I mention Lou Ann is teaching some basics classes at the show? Yea, so are 3 or 4 other people I know and can call friend. One is the president of her guild this year and has invited me to join. (I am truly blessed.) Well I think this post is long enough, photo's next time.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Flashing you with Yarn porn

Ok, I've heard it called a lot of things, but mainly Flashing the stash and yarn porn. When you post photo's of your stash on the blog. Well since I've shown you knitting, planting, kids, and dogs, I suppose I might as well show you the hoard. Maybe another day I will show you my 2-3 UFO's (Yes there are only a few, I have learned to let go, rip out, and reinvent). Along the way in the future I may just show off my fiber stash, but that's a lot less impressive I think. A lot of white, black and grey wool. Some tussah silk, some hand dyed tussah silk, and fawn and choco black alpaca. Not much to look at really.
Now my yarn stash...WOW there are a great array of colors sizes, and fibers. Wool, silk, nylon, alpaca, cotton, linen, cashmere, and acrylic in reds, golds, pinks, blues, blacks, whites, greens, browns, purples... no orange or yellow though. Not a big fan of those colors. There is everything from chunky to lace weight, solids to variegated, and plain to novelty. I am So eclectic.

Ever seen Disney's The Emperor's New Groove? Where Yzma says, " Ah, How shall I do it?" Should I arrange it by fiber? Color? Or just lay it all out? Hmmm maybe both? Well here goes.
Ladies and gentleman of the fiberworld, artists of all ages welcome to the stash.....

Ok so I divided it up by fiber. But now looking at the photo's it doesn't really matter. Please keep in mind this is a king sized bed, and this is only my commercial knitting yarn. No handspun, no yarn that has been Donated to me by a certain organization. Ahem! I suppose it's just not big enough if A) it can fit on a bed, B) it does not cover the bed, and C) ...uh, what was C again? Oh well. It's mine and I love it. I've only been at it for 2-3 years. I can remember my first stash yarn. It's a Brown Sheep handpainted wool mohair blend called Strawberry Fields. It's still in there. Wow. . I'm getting all teary eyed. All that's missing is some pure silk yarn, and some Lorna's Laces... Hmmm, Mothers Day is coming up. Yeah
Gotta go!